Guitar brand Gibson wants some lost documents back and is willing to pay some serious cash for them.
The missing paperwork in question – shipping books on rare Gibson guitars from the late 1950s – may not sound valuable, but they do contain authentication information about some of the most iconic instruments in modern music history, Gibson said in a statement on Tuesday morning. That, alone, made the company value the general ledger’s return at $ 59,000.
Among the instruments listed in the general ledger are the 1959 and 1960 Les Pauls. Les Paul 1959, especially with its iconic sunburst finish and clear fat, baseball bat-style neck, has long been considered the holy grail of electric guitars. It̵
The ’59 model Les Paul received poorly 60 years ago, and low demand meant that Gibson only stopped making 643 of them that year. But rock stars raised their value sharply in the following decade, and now potential buyers will not find one for less than six figures – a ’59 in the right condition can sell for at least $ 500,000. Although a Les59 is the most valuable, models are from 1958 and 1960 also highly sought after, with these models also picking up six figures on the market.
Gibson believes the books for these instruments disappeared when the company left Kalamazoo, Michigan to move to Nashville in the 1980s, and it will give the five-digit reward to the owner of the books, no questions asked, the statement said. The company also offers a suite of rewards such as cash, gift cards and instruments for other companies’ historical documents before 1970. Holders of ledgers should send emails to the company with descriptions of the general ledgers, photographs and contact information.
“I hope we can recover these books because they contain important information about the peak of our golden age,” Gibson Chief Trade Officer Cesar Gueikian said in a statement. “While they are dusty old books for someone else, these books are part of our history, DNA and our iconic past.”
In recent years, Gibson has struggled to attract a younger, not-so-rock-obsessed audience. Gibson was facing bankruptcy in 2018 and sold some of its non-core investments, such as the audio company Phillips, which took up part of the company’s debt. Former Levi CEO James Curleigh took over as CEO shortly after and told Tennessean in January that Gibson would resume its core mission of instrument sales and “remain true to historical roots.”